• Nancy Beers

Game of the Month October - Brainshock

Updated: May 13

There are so many games to choose from. But which ones are really worth the effort? Of course, being the Happy Scrum Master, I've got quite a few favourites which I'm more than happy to share with you. Last month we stayed mum and played The Mind. This month I’d like to ask you to loosen those muscles and brain cells and get ready. This month we'll be playing:


BRAINSHOCK


What is it?

Brainshock's an amazingly interactive game. It's also very accessible because it doesn't require any props. Which is nice for a change, isn't it? Not having to go to a shop before you can get stuck in. The only thing you'll need are four enthusiastic players, or 8 players, or 12, or 16, or...... any number will do as long as you can divide it by 4. Oh, and for a really large group you'll obviously need a large room or a nice field to keep from poking each other's eyes out, but that's beside the point. Brainshock's aim is to allow you to physically experience what goes on in your head when you're trying to do too many things at the same time. Because multitasking? Turns out, even women can't do it.


How does it work?

The 'main player', or in other words: the one performing all the tasks, is asked to use the left side of their brain by answering the simple maths questions given to them by the player standing on their right. At the same time, the right side of their brain is put to work by the player standing on their left side who's having to come up with a series of non-invasive questions such as: What is your favourite game? Have you ever been to China? What are your hobbies? And just to make sure that all those tiny grey cells are really getting a proper workout, the main player is also required, while busy answering all those different questions, to imitate the movements performed by the person standing in front of them!!

Each round lasts about a minute or two and then you switch roles. The player on the right becomes the main player, etc.


What makes this game so interesting?

It's a excellent way to get the juices flowing and for you to enjoy yourselves. The challenge for the players is to come up with specific questions and movements while all sorts of things are happening at the same time. That actually requires a lot of focus. And the main player? Their brain's literally going off the rails because of all the conflicting questions and tasks they’re having to answer and perform. And before you know it, you're all laughing your heads off because it's simply impossible to do all those things at once or to watch someone trying to do all those things at once. Trust me, give Brainshock a go, it's hilarious.


And why is this one of my favourite games?

There are two reasons why I think Brainshock is absolutely amazing. For starters, it's a good way to allow participants to experience one of the five Scrum Values: focus (Here's a nice read about it on Scrum.org) Or rather; the effect that a lack of focus has on you. And secondly, I like to think of Brainshock as the ultimate example of the power of Playification. Obviously, I could simply tell you that multitasking is impossible but odds are I'll end up sounding like some righteous prick and the chances of you actually accepting what I'm trying to tell you are, well, slim at best. This game allows you to experience my message with every fibre of your being and in such a way that the experience is a positive one. And it's also such a profound and comprehensible experience that makes it easy to relate to in your daily life. By playing the game you immediately get why it's important to actually make choices and not try to focus your attention on ten things at the same time. And that's what Playification is all about. By engaging in a physical and interactive activity, you’re creating a positive experience that allows you to grasp easily why it's advisable to behave a certain way or, in this instance, not behave a certain way.

You're all out having a good time learning together and from each other. You're creating positive memories that can easily be relived or shared with others. Memories you're unlikely to forget and as a result making it easier to remember the message - multitasking is impossible - that came with it.


Interested in the details?

You really should see the game in action. There's a fun video available on the #Play14 website.


You can also read about my play14 addiction in this blogpost...

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